The Daily Breadman Mailbag returns with Stephen "Breadman" Edwards tackling topics such as fighter's top performances, Tyson Fury's take on Mike Tyson, Jaron Ennis vs. Vergil Ortiz, career of Alexis Arguello, mythical matches, and more.
Hey Bread, big fan. I appreciate getting insight from one of the sharper minds in the game.
I have been watching boxing for twenty years and there is something I have been curious about from the start. Imagine you’re an average big guy, 230 or so. You’ve never trained to box but maybe you’re a biker, a construction worker, maybe you played football back in school. Now obviously Tyson Fury would smash you in a minute in a bar fight, as would Artur Beterbiev, and I presume Canelo and GGG. But how far down the scale would you go before size would assert itself against a top 20-rated boxer? Lightweight? Feather? Could Chocalatito mess up a tough guy that outweighed him by 120? I’ve always been curious.
I’ll throw you a few mythical matchups before I go:
Chocalatito vs Finito Lopez
Crawford vs Pryor
Arguello vs Chavez
Barrera vs Olivares
Robinson vs Langford
Bread’s Response: Interesting question. From my experiences I know a handful of street guys who can really fight. They have good reflexes, hard hands and muscles. Good balance and vicious temperaments. But they never trained in the art of pugilism because they either weren’t interested or weren’t exposed to it. Most times they just didn’t have the DISCIPLINE of a pugilist. Diet, training, daily exercise etc.
Now if you run into someone I described and you give up 50lbs to them in a street fight, and you’re a top rated boxer then the fight can be competitive. The thing people need to realize about a street fight is that time usually separates the skill level. But a street fight is usually less than a minute. So viciousness and outburst affect it more. In cases where less skill is needed it benefits the street fighter more.
But I can’t put an exact weight difference on it. It’s a fight. Some boxers benefit more because they are boxers and they are rules. All in all I believe boxers have an advantage because they are simply used to being hit but in some cases depending on the street fighter he can win or make it interesting especially if there is a big size disparity.
To answer you directly I don’t know if Chocolatito can beat up a 220lb street fighter. There are too many variables. If the guy is a crazy strong ex athlete and they fight in a bar and he starts grabbing and slamming Choc then I would probably favor the street fighter. If they go outside and square up and Choc starts moving around, then I think Choc destroys him. So….
In ALL of your Mythical Matchups I can envision both fighters winning. Very difficult MM. I think all of the fights would be decided by a best of 3 series.
What's up Bread
I saw you mention how ring walk music is important. What are some of your favorite, memorable, or bizarre ring walks you remember? Have you ever been able to tell if a fighter was off or shook from his ring walk? What do you think of the current trend of having live performances accompanying fighters to the ring? As a trainer do you have any input on entrance music? Do you get hyped as well?
Bread’s Response: Most memorable ring walks lets see….
Oscar vs Vargas. Oscar was ready, Jack! Oscar had a mix of songs as he did his ring walk. I loved it.
Bowe vs Holyfield. Bowe came down to “In the Air” by Phil Collins. I was terrified for Holyfield who was my guy. Bowe was zoned out.
Ray Leonard vs Hagler and Hearns. Leonard was like gliding to Rocky Music vs Hearns. Vs Hagler he was sharp and jumpy but alert.
Nigel Benn vs GMAN. I had a horrible feeling when Benn was walking in the smokey arena. Benn was making his last stand as a great fighter. He gave it ALL up that night.
I have a few more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.
Yes I have suggested songs on the walk out, in relation to what was on the line, where we were, and what type of fight it had to be. Once a suggested James Brown, Big Pay Back because we were showing an ex promoter that we were worth it. Once I suggested a JAY Z song because we were in Brooklyn and wanted the crowd.
I would love for a kid who had the world against him to come down to “Change Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke but I haven’t had that yet. That song inspires differently but it takes a special kid to do that.
I feel like sometimes a fighter's best performance is not always their most important. Does that difference makes any sense? It may sound like splitting hairs, but sometimes they aren't the same thing. It's probably something that gets pretty subjective, too.
Floyd's most important was beating Oscar as that was a changing of the guard of PPV stars and it launched him, but his best might be vs Canelo.
At the same time, Frazier' best and most important was probably beating Ali.
It probably depends a lot on the fighter's career, and how consistent they were.
Anyway, what are your thoughts?
Bread’s Response: Of course it makes sense. Floyd’s most important fights were Oscar, Canelo and Manny. But I think his best performances were Corrales, Ndou, Gatti and Judah. But Floyd is just so excellent and consistent he’s never had what you call a bad night. He doesn’t need to be lights out to be great.
Yes Frazier’s best and most important night was Ali.
But Ali’s best night was Cleveland Williams. His most important nights were Liston, Frazier and Foreman.
So good pick up. Sometimes the stars line up so your best night is your biggest night. Sometimes it doesn’t.
But the GREAT fighters have a way of coming through, way more often than they come up short regardless if they are in the zone or not.
I have a saying. You have to be at your BEST, when your BEST is needed.
Mike Tyson posted a response to Tyson Fury saying he'd be defeated via KO1 by Mike.
Mike Tyson on Twitter
“I just heard that @Tyson_Fury said that I would KO him in the first round if we fought. What are your thoughts? #TysonComeBack2018 #HeavyweightChamp #PodcastKing https://t.co/DUxIpQMcDR https://t.co/zUNpTBBrLo”
It was refreshing to hear. A fighter with a mentality that no fighter/man is better than him when he's at his best. And there will be no other. To a large extent it seems we're missing that mindset in this era. No disrespect to the great champions of this time and those who seek to unify and make the biggest and best fights. I get the business side of things and no one can fight every challenger and must make smart business decisions. But it is a combat sport and I would think the competitive nature would rise and fighters would seek to eliminate all threats, real and perceived, in their division. A division is like a Pride Land. And Lions defend their territory to the death. You've seen National Geographic and various nature shows. A young lion kills/runs off the current Pride Male(s) (current champ), kills the male cub(s) (former champ's mandatory), deals with any males that ventures into his territory (mandatories), and battles to the death any direct challenges to his kingdom (rival champs). He, the Pride Male, must be supreme in his Pride Land (division). There can be only one.
How refreshing and exciting for boxing if every champ and aspiring champ had that mentally? Who are some fighters you think have this mentality today?
~Lateef from VA
Bread’s Response: Man, you have good writing skills. Ok here is the thing, I agree with you. But people conform to their environment. So in this environment fighters take a business first approach. They see fighters get rewarded for taking minimum risk. They see fighters get INSULTED by boxing media and social media. So they quell their quest for greatness. I feel bad that a fighter can’t aspire to be great without negative feedback after a loss. But it’s how it is in this time.
I think lots of fighters in this era lack self esteem. They let other people’s opinion of them, effect their opinion of themselves. I try to tell fighters to stay off of social media but that’s impossible in this era. It would take a different kind of kid to do that.
The other thing is a LOSS. Some fighters do want to be great. But if they lose they get cautious. They can’t take the feed back. But they don’t get it. There are a few who don’t think like that. Shawn Porter stays the same. Chocalatito stays the same. Juan Estrada stays the same. Manny Pacquiao stays the same. But for the most part these fighters in this era change after a LOSS.
I feel like after you lose it should be easier to take chances because you don’t have the pressure of the undefeated record. But the opposite happens in this era. I think the Promoters and Networks also play a big part. The pay scale goes DOWN too much after a fighter loses. I get that you won’t make the same after a win. But the pay scale drops drastically after a loss. Too much in my opinion but that should motivate these fighters to train harder and WIN.
Histories favorite fighters all got meaner after losses. Ali, Leonard, Duran, Hagler, Hearns, Sanchez, Arguello, Nelson, Holyfield, Lewis, Whitaker, Hopkins, Pacman, Barrera, Marquez….
The perspective has changed with boxing recently. In any sport the goal should be to be the best and get paid well while doing it. But in boxing they have figured out a way, where you can get paid without being the best. They have circumvented being GREAT.
Currently I think GGG had that Lion mentality you talked about. He wanted all of the belts and was begging for chances. He even took short money in his early HBO fights to stay active. When you go after unifications then you aren’t enabling the matchmaker to fool the public. You are just going after champions. But the system waited GGG out.
Errol Spence has that mentality also. He wanted a title shot, 2 years before he got one. He unified. He seems to be a GUN. But I do want to see how he acts after he loses. I would like to see if he still has that same ambition. But so far I like his mentality.
Loma challenged undefeated guns. He went after Russell, Rigo and Walters. He unified at 135. My only issue with Loma is he left a little food on the table at 130 in Berchelt but he’s fighting Teofimo Lopez so he’s excused.
Jarrett Hurd had it. He went after Lara in his 2nd title defense. He rolled the dice and hit the jack pot. But I have to see how Hurd’s ambition looks after his LOSS. We he still go after tough fights? Or will he take years to fight hard again?
I think Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder both have that mentality. They both want smoke. Fury is crazy and he doesn’t care who he fights. Wilder didn’t have to take the rematch and he wants it. He was just dominated and stopped. He didn’t let anyone talk him out of the rematch. He’s going right back in the FIRE. You have to respect that.
Oleksandr Usyk. He unified big time at Cruiserweight. He did it in under 20 fights. His heavyweight rise has been slow but I think his mentality is that of a killer.
Artur Beterbiev, he took a tough unification fight vs the NAIL. Any fighter who takes a 50/50 unification you have to give a certain status. Because you don’t HAVE to fight unifications. You can mile a title if you choose.
Choc and Estrada but they are in a class of their own.
There are a few others like Terence Crawford who I feel is getting slighted. But I really believe Crawford would fight anyone if it weren’t for politics in boxing.
The two fighters stand out to me in this regard and you guys will laugh at me. Both fighters have vulnerable chins. They lose badly and often. But they still take big fights consistently. Those fighters are Amir Khan and Jorge Linares. Both of those guys take some tough fights. You can say what you want about them but they don’t have low self esteem. They fight some serious fights even when they are being fed. Khan was fed to Crawford and Canelo. Linares was fed to Loma and being fed to Ryan Garcia. They wanted SMOKE. I wish more fighters realized that just because you’re being FED, it doesn’t mean you have to allow yourself to be eaten up.
Hi! Mr. Edwards,
Hope you’re doing well and your family as well as your fighters. This is my first time writing to you and I love reading your column every week as it will give us some knowledge of boxing. Since I’m from Philippines I followed and watch all the fights of our super hero Manny Pacquiao. In Welterweight division there are plenty of top dogs there from Crawford, Spence, Thurman, Porter, Garcia & etc. But the one who really caught my eyes are the rising Welterweights like Jaron Ennis & Vergil Ortiz Jr. They are both knockout artist, young (almost same age) & rising superstar. My question are,
1) Who would you think will win if the fight will happen this year or next year between Ennis vs. Ortiz Jr.?
2) In 2021 if they fight my top 6 Welterweight list.. (Ennis / Ortiz Jr Vs. Crawford, Spence, Pacquiao, Thurman, Porter & Garcia) who’s fighter you think they can be defeated?
3) Who’s among the top 140 right now can defeat both of them (Ennis & Ortiz Jr.) if they fight at Welterweight?
Bread’s Response: I am also very high on Ennis and Ortiz. I’ve seen Ennis in the gym since he was 17 years old and he’s a phenom. I think he was the best US Amateur along with Shakur Stevenson in 2016 class. Ennis is long. He has a great jab. He’s a brutal body puncher. He’s equally adept from southpaw or orthodox. He has cat like reflexes. He’s also bigger than this era’s welterweights. Ennis will be a middleweight one day.
He just needs elite level rounds. He can’t get a fight with a solid opponent. Ennis reminds me of a mix of Too Sharp Johnson and Roy Jones. I’m not suggesting he’s as good but that’s who he reminds me of.
Ortiz is also very good. He’s like an athletic attacker. But he’s huge for 147. He has that quiet, killer way about him. He also seems to be physically tough. He’s going to have to be with his style because as he slows down he will take punishment. Ortiz reminds me of a mix of MA Barrera and Fernando Vargas.
I think both are ready now for top 10 welterweights.
1. If they fought tomorrow I would favor Ennis. But I don’t think it would be easy. Because the only style that I have seen that ever gave Ennis trouble with overwhelming him and smothering his talent. Sort of how Glen Johnson fought Roy Jones. Gary Russell fought him in that style in the Olympic Trials and was able to beat him. Ortiz may be able to fight that style vs him but Ennis is stronger and punches much harder than he did 4 years ago.
2. This question is too hard because I have to see how they develop and how the others drop off. But I will make a prediction. Neither will get a title shot unless they are the mandatory. Both are too good to just fight voluntarily. They will get BOXED out. Especially Ennis. No one wants to deal with a freaky switch hitter with a 74 inch reach.
3. Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor are the best junior welterweights. I don’t know if they would beat Ennis or Ortiz right now. Sometimes experience is overrated. Some fighters can’t get experience fights because they are too good. So I just don’t know at this point. As weird as this may sound waiting Ennis and Ortiz out may be bad for the division. It may be better to jump on them now before they get a 12 round fight under their belts. But in this era I don’t think anyone will chance it.
Ennis and Ortiz will have to rely on their promoters to get them in position because on the business side the other promoters won’t unless they have options on them.
No serious in-depth questions from me this go-around, Breadman. Just wanted to see if you’d enjoy breaking down some mythical matchups:
Edwin Valero vs Manny Pacquiao @135
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Marco Antonio Barrera @130
Arturo Gatti vs Rocky Lockridge @130
Carlos Monzón vs Gene Fullmer @160
Oscar De La Hoya vs Sugar Ray Leonard @147
Roy Jones vs Marvin Hagler @160
Roberto Duran vs Felix Trinidad @147
Andre Ward vs Artur Beterbiev @175
Marco Antonio Barrera vs Azumah Nelson @130
Mikey Garcia vs Kostya Tszyu @140
George Foreman vs Tyson Fury
Joe Frazier vs Wladimir Klitschko
Bread’s Response: They say Valero was money in the gym. But the Manny that fought David Diaz in 2008 was as good a fighter as we have seen at their peak in 20 years. It’s hard for me to pick against that Manny with a fighter who had an abbreviated career and never fought an A lister. I thought Valero was a real deal but sometimes you can be overrated with early death of retirement. Manny.
Loma vs Barrera- the Barrera that fought Hamed would disrupt Loma’s timing with a world class jab. Flip a coin.
Gatti vs Lockridge- Lockridge by late stoppage
Monzon vs Fulmer- Monzon by decision
De La Hoya vs Leonard- Leonard by UD
Jones vs Hagler- Flip a coin. Hagler’s prime in the late 70’s and early 80’s is a tough out. I think he would make Roy hesitant to open up sort of like Bhop did in their first fight but Hagler is busier.
Duran vs Tito at 147. Well the Duran that beat Leonard and Palomino is on Ray Robinson’s level. I think Duran is too slick for Tito but he would have to get off the deck to win. Tito is at the next tier of greatness but not quite Duran’s level.
Ward vs Beterbiev you know out of the current crop of fighters from 168-175 I think Beterbiev gives Ward his toughest fight. His physical strength is enormous. He fought at 201 as an amateur. Ward has a way of muscling fighters at times and it fatigues them. I don’t know if he could muscle Beterbiev. I would pick Ward but I think it’s an awfully tough fight. But Ward’s hand speed and ability to play keep away and score points would edge it.
Barrera vs Nelson- I have no idea. Today I say Nelson. Nelson is criminally underrated.
Garcia vs Tszyu- I say Tszyu by decision in a battle of perfectly straight right hands.
Foreman vs Fury- Foreman
Frazier vs Klitshko- Frazier BIG!
I've been rewatching the career of Arguello recently and was wondering - where does he rank all time if he pulls off the first Pryor fight?
I think he's one of the top 30 all time greats (and admittedly one of my favourite fighters). I had him winning 4 of the proceeding 5 rounds leading into the 14th against Pryor and it looked like he was closing hard and within reach before Aaron pulled out that rally, which I give him credit for, whatever was in that damn bottle.
Looking back on his career, I can't think of a lighter weight fighter who had a greater run over such an extended period - his lineup between 1979 to '81 where he went 12-0 (9KOs) includes Escalera, Limon, Castillo, Chacon, Navarette, Boza, JL Ramirez, Watt and Mancini. That is an INSANELY tough lineup over a golden era of fighters which he ran through and I think that alone would justify his ranking - apart from maybe Pacquiao - has anyone come close to that kind of streak against that level of opposition sub 135lbs? Plus a few mythical matchups -
Arguello vs Pac, Marquez, Barrera and Morales @ 130lbs
Over 15 rounds I figure it's very hard to keep from being clipped by him, plus he'd be the bigger man vs all, though I could see Pac's left hand being dangerous for him, especially early on.
Would love to know your thoughts.
Ed JB Anderson from UK
Bread’s Response: You abbreviated Alexis’s run. He won the title in 1974 at featherweight and undefeated in title fights from 74-82 winning 19 straight title fights. He was MONEY.
If you think about the time Alexis won his 3rd division title when it still wasn’t a common thing. Only him and Wilfred Benitez had done it recently in their era. Leonard, Hearns, Duran and Wilfredo Gomez had not done it yet in the 80s. Alexis had won his 3rd in 1981 and was going for 4 vs an ATG in 1982. If he beats an undefeated great fighter who is bigger and younger at the time, that win is on the level of Duran’s over Leonard. If he wins that fight, he’s most likely a top 20 fighter ever.
What a special fighter he was. Today Arguello is sort of viewed as a great fighter but not one who excels in head to head match ups because of his lack of athleticism. But he was a contained fighter. It’s very hard to take him out of his sorts. It’s hard to get him reach, or do something to exploit his lack of athleticism. He keeps a murderous jab on you. He throws every punch correctly to the head or body. He has trick shots. His hook starts out like a jab and his right uppercut to the body starts out looking like a right hand to the head. Arguello also didn’t fatigue and was murder down the stretch. He’s a hard out. He reminds me of Joe Louis. Arguello wasn’t fast but he was quick minded. He knew how to land his shots like the great Carlos Monzon.
I think Arguello would beat Pac, Barrera, Morales and Marquez all at least once if he fought them all twice. Not one of them would shut him out. And he would shut a few of them out. He was that good. I think him and Manny would split. Barrera, Morales and Marquez all have a good chance at beating him. But Marquez and Morales got hit too clean for Arguello. He would drop and most likely stop one of them if not both. Barrera is better defensively than them but Arguello may be too big for Barrera. Arguello is a legit 5’9. He was huge for that weight.
Happy Juneteenth Breadman,
I hope all is well with you. I love how the Mexican fan base rallies behind their fighters, especially on the weekends of Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independence Day. They treat those weekends like the Superbowl. I'd love to see a Black American Fighter claim Juneteenth Weekend annually and introduce/bring awareness to the holiday and not try to piggyback off of the Mexican Holidays.
Mythical match ups.
Spence vs Maidana
Pac vs Monster
Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
Thanks for your time,
Jay from NC
Bread’s Response: I think that is a great idea. I don’t think the black fighters were aware of Juneteenth recently because there have been plenty of all black fights and no one ever fought on this date. If you notice they aren’t many BIG fights during the summer months but that will change. My prediction is next year we will see an all black Super Fight.
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